The Kennedy Center



Hariharan is one of the most popular Indian vocalists of our time, an established singer of the light-classical, romantic and lyrical style of ghazal*.  A film playback singer fluent in several languages and one of the pioneers of Indian fusion music, Hariharan, a singer of over 5,000 songs, has enjoyed a successful career touring, recording and collaborating.

Hariharan grew up in Mumbai, the son of renowned Carnatic (South Indian) vocalists Shrimati Alamelu and the late H.A.S. Mani.  His mother was his first guruji (mentor or teacher), training him in Carnatic music. In his teens, inspired by the songs of Mehdi Hassan, Hariharan developed a passion for ghazals and studied Hindustani (North Indian) music from Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.  In 1977, he was awarded the top prize in the All-India Sur Singaar competition and was promptly hired by the late music director Jaidev to sing for the Hindi film Gaman. His debut song won Hariharan an Uttar Pradesh state award, as well as a Best Singer National Award nomination.  Since then, he has been the recipient of many awards and honors including Padma Shri from the government of India, the Kalai Mamani Award, the Jesudas Award, the MTV Indian Viewers' Choice Award for his highly-lauded album Colonial Cousins, and many awards for Best Male Singer from India's film industry.  He has previously collaborated with Zakir Hussain on the ghazal album Hazir and in concert performances.  He is a prolific recording artist and composer, with many live concert recordings, popular collaborations and collections of his ‘greatest hits'. He has toured the United States often in the past decade and recently enjoyed the privilege of inaugurating the 2010 Commonwealth Games with his composition and performance of "Swaghatham Song."

His website is

Last updated: February 25, 2011